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Microtest has been supplying GP practices with fully integrated, digital patient record systems since 1980.
Based in Bodmin, Cornwall, today Microtest works with clinics, hospitals and GP practices across the UK and in the Channel Islands.

Our Brand Consultant, Sophie, met with Managing Director Chris Netherton to understand more about how Microtest is harnessing the power of technology to improve patient care across the UK.

“We have three core clinical systems, Open Evolution, Guru and Planned Care, all of which have been created to improve the security, maintenance and sharing of patient records. Microtest is right at the forefront of the new era of collaboration within healthcare and is leading the way in the transformational NHS Digital programme, GP Connect.”

Electronic patient records are a central part of the NHS’ wider digitisation strategy, meaning that business such as Microtest have a key role to play in the UK Government’s ambitions for a paperless healthcare service by 2020. The storage of patient records is a sensitive issue, and one that has been well documented by the press, with concerns surrounding security and access to data. The move from individual paper records to cloud based systems such as those that Microtest have developed, bring massive benefits to both patients and clinicians, including better care through more informed diagnoses and improved record maintenance.

Guru is the UK’s most advanced patient record sharing system. It has been improving treatment of patients in the region where it was developed since 2014. When patients arrive at hospital, they are often in a difficult situation and may forget to tell medical staff everything they need to know.

“Guru gives us a much more complete picture for managing their care. What I like about Guru is that is provides immediate access to patient records and is very intuitive and very simple to learn.”

Dr Neil Davidson, Medical Director at West Cornwall Hospital

The impact of Guru has also been felt by the staff at Royal Cornwall Hospital, enabling valuable time saving and more efficient record keeping. Chris says, “We have been working with Royal Cornwall Hospital on the implementation of Guru for over three years. On average the hospital pharmacy team performs 1,500 medicines reconciliations a month. Guru is able to provide instant and accurate information, saving at least 10 minutes per patient which results in huge time saving of over 3,000 man hours per year.” Improving efficiency and cutting cost are two major challenges facing the NHS. Through the application of technology, Guru addresses both of these issues without compromising on patient care. “GPs have a certain amount of time allocated to each patient, and previously much of this may be wasted discussing past medical history. Guru eliminates that, enabling more in-depth discussion between patient and doctor about better informed treatment.”

Microtest’s ethos is led by improving well-being and the team are continually working to improve their systems. Its latest development, Planned Care, is the first of its kind available in the UK and enables patient’s care plans to be shared seamlessly across health and social organisations once they have given permission. This type of access not only facilitates more efficient care by allowing secondary care providers to make more informed diagnosis, the collaborative approach to patient care also enables valuable savings in time and money.  “Planned Care is a huge step forward towards the goal of joining up healthcare. It will integrate with any primary or secondary care system, as well as any first responder service, social care, community teams and voluntary organisations. Record sharing is authorised by the patient and is totally secure. As well as saving vital time for healthcare staff, Planned Care has the potential to transform patient safety.”

Cornwall has lot to offer innovators in healthcare. Microtest is just one of a cluster of forward thinking businesses that are tapping in to the region’s fantastic digital infrastructure and breadth of business support services. Unlike other areas of the UK, Cornwall has a streamlined healthcare system with a single NHS Trust, Clinical Commissioning Group and local authority, enabling more agile decision making. Cornwall is also running two key healthcare focused projects: the EPIC (eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall) Project and Smartline.

In collaboration with a number of Cornish and national partners, the University of Plymouth is leading the delivery of the EPIC Health Project, an initiative to improve the use of eHealth in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Working with doctors, nurses, care homes, University Academic and small companies throughout Cornwall, EPIC will facilitate the development of tech-enabled products and services to improve the health and well-being of patients throughout the region.

Led by the University of Exeter, the Smartline project will harness the power of data to drive improvement in the health and well-being of communities around Cornwall, by supporting Cornwall based Healthtech SME’s in the development of eHealth and eWellbeing products. By working with project partner Coastline Housing, the project is a fantastic opportunity for SME’s to gain valuable data on how individuals engage with products and services in the home setting.

Finding new ways to provide more efficient, more effective healthcare is a priority for Cornwall. When considered in combination with its Superfast broadband connectivity and fantastic lifestyle, the region is the obvious choice for next-generation healthcare providers.

You can find out more about Microtest’s work here.

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